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Headsup: Mummy Reissues Everywhere

An ongoing attempt to make sense of the onslaught of new swag that people want you to buy. Should you? I’ll try and help.

The Mummy 2-disc Deluxe Edition DVD cover art
The Mummy Returns: 2-disc Deluxe Edition DVD cover art
The Mummy (Karloff) Special Edition DVD cover art

Okay, so the third Mummy film opens this weekend. Or third and a half if you count The Scorpion King. And I’ve already mocked the third film…a bit. Although…holy crap on a sidebar: there’s a Scorpion King sequel going direct to DVD on 8/19? I Did Not Know That. Anyway, my contempt for the first two Mummy films is already documented. Although I’m impressed that they’re pulling in Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh to try and get me to watch the third one. The other thing they’re doing is re-issuing films from their Mummy stable, but to their credit they’re at least coming at it with some additional features which aren’t just a preview of the third film. On The Mummy, you’ve got stuff from both the Collector’s and Ultimate editions of the film. So you wind up with deleted scenes, three commentary tracks, and two featurettes. New to this edition is the obligatory third film sneak peek, a digital copy of the movie, a behind the scenes featurette of which the second part is on The Mummy Returns and more. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

For The Mummy Returns, you’ve only got the one commentary track, plus the digital copy, the sneak peek, the aforementioned Part 2, effects featurettes and more. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

[ad#longpost]The main question for these two films is: having been released so many other times, are they worth picking up again, even with the new stuff? And my take is…eh, probably not. If you already own a decent copy of these, unless you’re just nuts about this new franchise, you’re better off renting, getting your fill, and having done with it. And if you like them that much, you’re going to want them on Blu-Ray at some point anyway, right? So I say hold off.

Next comes a tougher nut to crack: the original and good Mummy starring Boris Goddamn Karloff. I’ve already documented how much I like this one, so when you take a look at this Special Edition, it looks very tempting. But comparing this version to the original Legacy Edition, you find that one commentary and a documentary were on that first boxed set. Plus the Universal Horror documentary is the same as on the other Legacy Special Editions, like for Frankenstein or Dracula. Granted, this version is remastered and it does have a second commentary track with the likes of Rick Baker and Bob Burns–and you know I’m a sucker for a good commentary track. Still, the Legacy Collection version wins because it comes with the entire original Mummy franchise–a total of five movies in one set. That’s hard to beat. I would say if you only have the coin for one, grab the original 2004 Legacy Collection version, which is still in print. And then if you’re a Universal horror completist, come back for this one. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

Doomsday DVD Cover Art
The Bank Job 2-disc DVD Cover Art
Van Helsing 2-Disc Collector's Edition

So what happens when you take The Road Warrior, Escape From New York and a splash of 28 Days Later? You get Doomsday, where Rhona Mitra has to enter a quarantined Scotland that’s been reduced to Mad Maxsville in order to find a cure to an epidemic. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but considering most of us grew up watching sci-fi and horror that was just rehashing what had come before, it’s kinda hard to get too pissed off just out of the starting gates. It comes with commentary from director and members of the cast, a making-of featurette, an FX featurette and an unrated version with more people kablooey than before. I figure give it a rental if this is your kind of thing–either you’ll dig it and you win or you’ll MST3K it and you win. This is out from Universal. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

Is it just me or does Jason Statham have a movie coming out every fortnight? I’ve said it before, but here it is again: I had no idea ten years ago around the Lock Stock time frame that we’d be seeing so much of him. And he was a nice guy then and I dig his stuff so I don’t mind. There’s nothing like a handily crafted heist flick to bring a smile to your face and that’s the case here with The Bank Job. We’re looking at a two-disc set from Lionsgate but bear in mind disc number two is just for the digital copy, which is going to drive all regular DVDs to be “two-disc special editions” now, I guess. On the real disc, though, you get commentary with the director, the composer and actress Saffron Burrows, deleted and extended scenes with commentary, and two featurettes. Fans of the genre or fans of Statham will want to at least rent. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

So again, this weekend’s Mummy flick gives Universal an excuse to kick out another edition of Van Helsing. It’s Hugh Jackman vs. almost every other classic monster in the film that started Kate Beckinsale down the road to badassery. This set comes with two commentaries, self-guided tours of two sets, outtakes, a featurette on the creation of the monsters, and more. Trouble is–there’s nothing new here that wasn’t included on the three-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition that was out previously–plus you’re missing the original versions of The Wolf Man, Dracula and Frankenstein that came on the third disc. Now, of course, if you’re looking for those films you need to snag the Legacy Editions (sorry to keep harping on those, but they are badass) but regardless you can get the three-disc edition used on Amazon for less than $7 as I write this. So why wouldn’t you? Click here to buy the 2-disc from Amazon.

The Bourne Sanction book cover art
The Bourne Sanction unabridged audiobook cover art

So there’s a new Bourne book out, this time The Bourne Sanction from Grand Central Publishing. And–you’re not going to believe this, folks–but in this book…somebody’s trying to kill him! No shit, I mean it. But no, Bourne, who thinks he’s out goes to help a friend with a murder mystery. Because no good deed goes unpunished, he winds up dealing with terrorists, extremists, extremist terrorists, the NSA, and even more people who–wait for it–would love to kill Bourne. This is of course by Eric Van Lustbader, who’s continuing the literary franchise. If you don’t have the time–like me–to actually crack open a book these days, you can opt for audiobook versions from Hachette Audio. They come in two flavors, abridged and unabridged, both handled by reader Jeremy Davidson. The abridged is six hours across five discs and the unabridged is eighteen hours across fifteen discs. So you can go for whatever level of commitment (or commute time) you wish. Click here to buy the book, or here to buy the unabridged audiobook, or even here to buy the abridged audiobook, all from Amazon.